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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back to School lunches and SLEEP

So, here we are at the beginning of the school year.  Honestly, I don't know if I'm ready to start packing interesting, healthful lunches again.  I mean, how many turkey sandwich/applesauce/cheese stick/chips lunches can a kid eat?   How can I keep it interesting and healthy?  How can I be sure they eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables each day?

To make it easier to plan and to help my kids make their OWN healthy choices, I made up a chart.  On it, I have three categories:  fruits, vegetables, and proteins.  There are six boxes for each category.  On Sunday, I fill in the chart with their choices.  They then choose their favorite 3 or 4 items from each category (by putting their initial by the items they want that week).  They have now made their own choices and I know what to buy for the week!  I always add a small sweet or salty treat (popcorn, graham crackers, a small piece of chocolate or a few m&m's, pretzels, rice cakes, organic chips, etc.)

If you'd like a copy of my chart and a blank chart for you to use, please send me an email!  I'm happy to send it to you!

 (my filled in chart for this week)

  Here's a blank chart for you - contact me and I'll email a copy to you 
     (click the botton on the upper right side of the page)

Kids and SLEEP!

I'm also a stickler for making sure my kids get enough sleep.  Of course, they go to bed a LOT later throughout the summer and we'll surely have an adjustment period.  Especially since my kids need to be up at 6:20 in the morning in order to get their busses on time.  Sleep problems and disorders are prevalent for elementary age kids. Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and cognitive problems that impact on their ability to learn in school. 

The National Sleep Foundation recommends 10 - 11 hours each night for kids 5 - 12 years old.  That means my kids need to be ASLEEP between 7:20 and 8:20 each night. 

We start bedtime for our almost 5-year-old by 6:30 with a quick bedtime snack, quick bath, brush teeth and read a couple of stories.  We aim for lights out between 7:00 and 7:15. 

My 8-year-old is just behind his brother and reads (a lot!) on his own.  So he's in bed reading while I'm reading to and tucking in the little guy.  Once I'm done, I read to and "tuck in" my older son and the lights are out for him by 7:45. 

That's the plan, anyway.  It's not going to work every night (for instance, my older son's soccer games are scheduled at 7pm during the week!)

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